Mr. Pauer on Escaping Miami’s Tropical Trap

Cultura Dura is a Remezcla and Mike’s HARDER content and event series highlighting emerging Latin urban culture. We’ll be exploring scenes that haven’t really gotten any coverage anywhere else – from block parties and street art to underground sports and raw, young artists making movements pa’ la calle.

Born in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela and now with over twenty years in south Florida, Mr. Pauer is well-known for holding down the nu-tropical sounds in the Capital of Latin America, Miami. The DJ/producer/percussionist is renowned for his signature sound dubbed “electrópico,” which wrangles, as he puts it, “experiments with old school beats influenced by today’s world.”

Electrópico fuses electronic dance music mixed with music genres that originate, as he puts it, “between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn like Salsa, Zouk, Reggae, Cumbia, Dancehall, Merengue, Kuduro, [and more] creating a unique sound born in Miami.” Mr. Pauer originally caught the wider-scale public eye in 2011 with his hit “Cumbión del Sur” guest starring Itagüi of Miami-based band Locos Por Juana. The album eventually earned him a Latin Grammy Awards nomination for “Best Alternative Music Album.”

Mr. Pauer live at Siempre Fresco, Miami. Photo by Ian Witlen/Red Bull Content Pool.
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Now Mr. Pauer is back with some new releases on the map, having started to spread the word about his upcoming album Orange. In anticipation, this spring he released the the laid back, lounge-ready single “Dare,” passing the mic to Venezuelan sisters Ana and Maye Osorio, and calling in friends Bleepolar, Kinky Electric Noise, Afro Kumbe, Afrobeta, and more on the remix duties.

I chatted a bit with Mr. Pauer during a stop in Miami a few weeks ago to cover Red Bull’s Siempre Fresco event, where he teamed up with legendary Fania Records pianist and producer Larry Harlow–a.k.a. el Judio Maravilloso–with members of global bass crews Peligrosa, Que Bajo?!, and Moombahton Massive for a one night only live collaboration and club night at Grand Central.

Read on to get to know Mr. Pauer inspiration for innovating his dance floor-igniting Electrópico sound.

What’s the perception like for alternative Latin sounds in a city like Miami where Latin culture is omnipresent?

Miami is very tropical, sometimes too much because it’s a little harder to create a new sounds because there’s so much of it, and there’s a lot of purists that only like salsa, merengue, reggaeton, bachata, and that’s it. The diversity here is complex because you have a lot of people from Colombia, Venezuela, the Caribbean that share that same sound, but then you have people from Argentina, Chile that are into something else, or even all the Europeans coming to town.

As a live performer, what’s it like responding to this confluence of cultures?

To please that kind of vibe in one sound can get a little complicated, but that’s a challenge I love. It’s a matter of connecting the feelings of the type of music we used to listen to when we were kids by choice or by default, and then converting that into new sounds– electronic manipulations and inspiration.

You become a tropical rocker. Obviously there’s a lot of connection with my abuela, my mom, the type of music they listen to…once here in the US you start getting a little homesick even though I came here for passion, for music, to be a rockstar.

How do you hope your music will move Latin music culture forward?

It’s a matter of how to keep these sounds alive, how to evolve those sounds, and to have them be valued as part of American music. Because at the end of the day, my intention is to be a part of the movement, to interact with the crews making these sounds, and the other crews doing the sound in Latin America like El Freaky and Disque DJ, and making it closer and closer.